I hope that you will take the time to read the essay "2012 Memorial to 1/8 Fallen" written by Kathy Godwin below. There are many things that happen in our life that we don’t understand and those events that make us sad or frustrated. I can’t explain why many things happen. Why bad things happen to great people. I can’t explain it. But I can explain like Kathy did below, there is a bigger calling for all of us and everything happens for a reason. We may not like the event happening but the is a greater element out there people. There are no atheists in foxholes.
Time for a Cigar.
2012 Memorial to 1/8 Fallen
Once again, we are entering the season of remembering the Fallen by paying tribute to these amazing and much loved young men. To those of us who knew and loved the Fallen, our love and longing for them remains steadfast and strong. What a journey it has been in learning to live the new lives we were all handed! We have all struggled to find our way to a meaningful life again. Some days it still feels as though we will never figure it all out.
As time goes on, hopefully some of the wounds, visible and invisible, have begun to heal. Some wounds though are the kind that never completely go away. They are the wounds that change us forever. It was a change forced on us by events that were mostly out of our control. Hopefully though, some of the things that have befallen us have caused us to look into our lives, compelling us to make positive and necessary changes. A few days after the loss of Todd, I was telling a wise elderly man that this has certainly changed me. He replied, “That is why these things are designed, to change us.”
I had no idea, at the time, what some of the changes would entail. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to change me and make me more like Him each day. I don’t want all the things I have suffered to be in vain. I believe Todd would want his life and death to mean so much to me that I would be willing to not let his absence destroy me. He would want me to live my life in such a way that hopefully would make a positive impact – even if in a very small way. He would want me to be an over comer of this despair – to take care of myself in such a way that I can be a help and blessing to those he loved. He would want to know that those he loved are doing ok. I didn’t think it would be possible to go on without him. I still don’t want to, but I must. When I face God someday and see Todd again, I don’t want to face them with remorse about the choices I am making now.
At first, I had no idea how to do this. I prayed daily that the void in my heart and life would be filled with God’s love. It was the only thing that I could think of that was bigger than the empty hole that was in my heart. I still have to pray this way as I deal daily with the pain of such a tremendous loss. It seems that too often, I fail miserably. But, God is a forgiving God and never wants us to give up. He strengthens and helps us for what must be done as we look to Him.
July 20th is here, which in our house, means it is Todd’s anniversary. A few days ago, as I pondered Todd’s life and what it meant, I thought of the love he showed to others. In looking at his pictures, I saw that from the time he was a little boy, he usually had his arms around someone, smiling and giving them hugs. I then got out the Storybook of the Fallen and began to notice a common thread that seemed to flow through the veins of each of our Fallen. I began to see how the love of Christ manifested itself in each of their lives. It was a selfless love. A love of compassion that often cared more about the other person’s life than their own. I was so impressed with each of these young men, that the full magnitude of just how great our collective loss was that it began to overwhelm me. I couldn’t presume to know another’s heart and no one is perfect, but the love they showed reflected a love that had to come from a perfect source. What an example they set!
I thought of how much Todd loved his family, friends, and life. Yet, believing he would not be coming home, he said goodbye anyway and went to war. I believe he went, not only out of duty, but out of love. A love that was strengthened by faith in a God that is eternal. A trusting love that has a heart which says, “Thy will be done.” The love of a believing heart in a God that is perfect and cannot make mistakes. A submissive heart that wants to please a loving Heavenly Father, even if it is His will to say, “your work here is finished, it is time to come home to Me.” I know that although Todd’s love here was great, it is greater in Heaven. Any selfishness, pride, jealousies, etc. that sometimes creeps it’s way into our hearts here on earth is forever gone in Heaven. I know that Todd’s happiness and love is now made perfect in Heaven. How can I be angry with a God that loves my son so much that He has imparted His very own love on Todd and made him perfect? What great love is this that the Father has given us?!
In reflecting on the lives of the Fallen, I noticed they often put others before themselves, It made me think of I Corinthians 13, which is known as the great love chapter of the Bible. Among other things, it states that without love, we are nothing. It tells us that true love is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy or boast and is not proud. It does not dishonor others, nor is it self-seeking, nor easily angered. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and always perseveres. Love is the greatest thing which is eternal. It’s source is God.
Richard Lord manifested God’s love in his compassion for others. He reflected God’s command to help a brother in need by trying to see that others had what they needed.
Michael Halal showed a loving heart of gratitude for God’s love, even though he was a young man who believed he may be facing death in the near future. His was not a self-seeking love but that of concern for others.
Cesar Machado-Olmos showed a love of gentle kindness to others. It was a heart which reflected a desire to do that which he thought was right without being forced.
David Caruso reflected a heart that was filled with love. His was a sacrificial love that gave of his own life while saving the lives of the rest of the team. According to Jesus, this is the greatest love of all.
Lonny Wells showed a protective love that perseveres regardless of the consequences. A giving heart who lost his life looking out for his men. His men showed a compassionate love in trying to save their beloved leader, without thought to their own lives.
Dan Malcom also showed a heart filled with protective love. He loved those under him more than he loved his own life as he paid the ultimate price leading them to safety.
RJ Jiminez showed a love for others that goes above and beyond for the other guy. His was not a proud or boasting love as he never spoke of the deeds he did for others.
Nate Anderson showed a love that was not only in word, but in deed. His heart was filled with the hope that he would be returning home to those he loved.
Nick Ziolkowski reflected a non-judgmental heart of love that did not want to dishonor others. He demonstrated his love for others by believing in them.
Billy Miller also showed a loving and caring heart of protection by putting others before himself. His tender heart is reflected in his conversations with family. The Marines with him showed a great love that perseveres by trying to retrieve him after he had been shot.
Brad Parker displayed the love that is reflected by a cheerful countenance and by comforting others who needed encouragement.
DeMarkus Brown showed a kind heart of love that is deeply caring and committed, putting others before himself. Even when dying, he offered words of reassurance.
Dimitrios Gavriel was a person whose love is that of someone who recognizes when things in life are much bigger than ourselves and is willing to sacrifice for this cause.
Genetian Marku displayed the love of a steadfast, quiet strength. A spirit that did not seek to boast. He had a heart filled with love for family, country, and his fellow Marines.
Jeffery Holmes displayed a love that desires to make a difference in the world for the good. His willing, submissive heart showed maturity in it’s willingness to change.
Brad Faircloth reflected a loving heart that wanted to show kindness by doing good for others. Often giving away whatever he had to help someone in need, without boasting.
David Houck displayed a sacrificial love. He made a conscious decision to sacrifice his own life to save the life of another, which is the greatest love of all.
Kirk Bosselmann showed a tremendous love of life in all that he set out to do. He had a love that finds great joy in serving others. His mother demonstrated and encouraged the love that is reflected in a heart that is willing to offer forgiveness.
Joshua Lucero had a caring love that wants to help others. His love anticipated the blessed hope that was his when one day he stood in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ.
Gary Koehler showed a love that desires to overcome evil with good. He did what he could to live his life by this standard. Without regard to himself, he saved others lives.
Joshua Munns demonstrated a love that was dedicated, loyal, and caring. He had a heart displaying tenderness for the underdog. His father finds solace in believing Josh is now happy in Heaven with his other Sniper buddies, where no one can harm him again.
Jesus Himself set the example for this selfless love that so many of our Marines displayed, by offering Himself as a substitute for our sins. For as wonderful as some people are, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. Also, in I John I:8 it says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” But we have the wonderful promise in I John I:9 “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We aren’t perfect, but we can serve a perfect God! A God who loved us so much that he sent His only Son to die for us. God created Heaven (a very REAL place, not some surreal fantasy) for Himself and his followers. I Corinthians 2:9 gives us the hope that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” A wonderful, joyful place that we can go for all of eternity. A place where there will be no more separation from loved ones. A place where we no longer need to fear, nor feel sorrow. A place where God will wipe away all tears. This is our blessed hope.
Heaven is a place that is available to all those who put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” It is very clear, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light – the embodiment of God in the flesh. He has made it very simple for us to be with Him in Heaven. The Bible says we can’t work our way there by good works or by being good enough. Ephesians 2:8 & 9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” It is a gift, freely given to all who believe.
You might be thinking that your loved one who has died did not believe that and you want to be wherever he or she is. We can’t know for certain what transpires between God and a man before they die, unless they are able to tell us. Even if you don’t believe the words I am writing, I would encourage you to study for yourself in the Bible, God’s Word that He left to mankind, and find out for yourself. Your destiny for all eternity will depend on what you do with Jesus, who loved you and your loved ones, enough to sacrifice for us! No other religion in the world offers the way to the love of Christ.
Many over the years have wondered why a God of love could allow such inhumane human suffering. I don’t know the answer to that fully. But we do know that Satan is the Father of lies and human suffering, not God. God’s ways are that of love and peace. Also, Isaiah 55:8 & 9 says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. He says that He knows the plans He has for us, to give us a future and a hope. My heart is filled with thanksgiving towards God, for without Him, I would be without hope of ever seeing Todd and other loved ones again. More importantly, I would be without hope in the certain life to come. My husband and I have been down the road of hope in everything from ourselves to reincarnation. Our only lasting hope was when God took the blinders off of our eyes and we placed our faith in the only true and living God. It truly is His amazing grace.
I would invite you to view this website that has a page dedicated to Todd at:
http://www.forevermissed.com/cpl-todd-godwin/#about (I believe you will need to hit ctrl when clicked)
Although the name of the website is forevermissed.com, it is of great comfort to me to be able to say that Todd will only be missed forever in this life. Because in the next life, there is no separation. For God will dwell with us and we with Him forever.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4